“Queer” Goes Mainstream, Martha Irvine (p. 477)

The author is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and began her career in 1986.She is currently a national writer for the Associated Press, discussing issues and trending topics in popular culture for juveniles and young adults.

According to this article, the concept of “Queer Evolution” came from a few friends using it in casual conversation tied to television shows. Older generations consider it to be offensive. But to younger people there is a story behind its usage in everyday language.

The word “queer” originally meant “odd” or “unusual.” In the 1920’s and 1930’s, “queer” was used as the connotation of “pansy” and “sissy”. But it has evolved going into the early 21st century to an anti-gay insult within the last century. However, gay and lesbian activists have begun using it as a word for empowerment by chanting at protest: “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.”

Now there is an increasing use of the word as we see “queer” being used in mainstream media to describe any sexual orientation but straight. From TV Shows titles Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to internet dating sites like Match.com with advertisements that say Nice Guy for the Queer Guy. 

The article continues to personal interviews:

Stacy Harbaugh, 27 “I love it because, in one word, you can refer to the alphabet soup of gay, lesbian, bisexual, questioning, ‘heteroflexible’, ‘omnisexual’, ‘pansexual’ and all of the other shades of difference in that fluid, changing arena of human sexuality.”

James Cross, 26 says that the term “metrosexual” to him was used to describe straight men who are into designer clothes, art and fashion, and enjoy shopping.

Andy Rohr, 26 realized that people are still afraid to say the word “queer” in public settings. For example, his coworker was discussing the show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy when his female coworker whispered the word.

Just like any other word that can be used offensively or empowering like the “N” word, “F” word, and “R” word. If you are going to use the word then use it politically correct or not at all.


Clark, Virginia, and Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa. Language Awareness. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. Print.

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